Young driver gets 2 years jail for road-racing death

| 13/09/2011

(CNS): A judge handed down a sentence of two years imprisonment and a five year driving ban to twenty two year old Jarrett Morgan, Monday, for causing the death, by dangerous driving, of Mathew Bodden (23) in January 2010. Bodden who was the passenger in a car died when Morgan lost control of the vehicle on Shamrock Road as he overtook a line of five cars at over 100mph. As he handed down the sentence the judge said he found it “difficult to imagine a more dangerous piece of driving” and that it was a miracle more people were not killed or seriously injured in the high speed smash.

Morgan who pleaded guilty to the crime in July admitted that he was racing with another car as the vehicles passed Savannah post office on the night of the smash which occurred around 10:15mph. According to the accident expert when the driver lost control of the Honda Torneo it was travelling at over 107mph as it passed some five cars and before reaching the bend in Shamrock Road close to house number 2451 where Morgan lost control.

The car then skidded to the left of the road colliding with a wall when the vehicle hit a column it rotated in an anticlockwise motion as debris was flung in several directions across the road causing damage to cars on the other side. The wrecked Honda travelled more than 300feet before coming to rest in the middle of the road at an angle facing Will T Drive.

Although Bodden had somehow managed to crawl from the vehicle as it came to a stop he was pronounced dead as a result of blunt trauma injuries at the Cayman Islands hospital at 11:07. Bodden’s brother, Philip, who was also in the car sitting in the rear seat was dragged from the vehicle by Morgan and survived the smash.

Morgan who has been a civil servant since leaving school and was a member of the national football team has no previous convictions and the court said he had shown genuine and deep remorse over the death of his friend. He was also supported during the sentencing by the deceased’s brother and the court observed the family understood that Morgan did “not intend to end Matthew Bodden’s life” and had forgiven him for the tragic event.

Several complimentary references were given to the court on Morgan’s behalf from his employers and other leading members of the community, but, Justice Charles Quin the presiding judge said that despite the mitigation he could not ignore the fact that he was travelling at such a dangerous speed at the time of the smash.

Recognising that the death of Matthew Bodden was punishment in itself for Morgan he said that the court must still impose a sentence which in some measure drives home the message of the dangers of driving like this on a public road and the gravity of the consequences.

“The drivers who drive dangerously and find themselves in situations such as the one in which the defendant now finds himself must realise that no matter what their mitigating circumstances a custodial sentence will be imposed,” Justice Quin said.

Given the circumstances of the case the judge was faced with a maximum tariff of between three and five years. Taking the guilty plea into consideration as well as the mitigating circumstances he handed down a two year prison term to Morgan who was then taken into custody.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Category: Crime

About the Author ()

Comments (41)

Trackback URL | Comments RSS Feed

  1. Anonymous says:

    Una all try hush I from Brac and if u ask me all una down dere drive foolish, especially when una going from bodden town going east…Una all drive foolish.

  2. Anonymous says:

    All of you need to realize….any car in Cayman even your grandmothers Buick can go over 100mph!!! It is something that kids go through and get the thrill of driving fast……..Unfortunately we don't have a track on the island for them to do so…….So what do they do…..end up doing it on the streets.

    Big deal if they have lowered suspension, wheels or what ever (I agree the seat belts not on, seats layed back, dark tint and so on is just plaint stupidity…..I even see them driving around with the mirrors folded in……WTH!!!!

    Cayman needs a good road couse so that these kids can have fun and be safe doing so. Somebody needs to step up and do this even if it means government has to fund some of the money for it. They could use the track to simulate different driving conditions for those learning to get there license.

    I am too guilty of driving fast sometimes but its the frustration you get it when you have all of the stupid drivers Cayman has, expecially when someone pulls out infront of you, drives slow just plain being a real ass!^&*!!!! Especially taxi's that pull on and off the road right in front of……this list could go on and on…….but you get the point!!!


    We need a track!!


    • Anonymous says:

      You have too much time on your hands.  Go pull bush, pick up garbage at the beaches, take food to the elderly, etc

    • Anonymous says:

      No. We need security. We need shelter. We need food. We need water.

      WE do not NEED a goddamn track.

      But you may say you would like one. So that when they do this crap at least they just kill each other, yeah? Good on you.

    • Anonymous says:

      Your grandmother had sense, thats why she lived long enough to be your grandmother, even with a Buik.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Funny enough my car isn't modified and is more than capable of driving @ over 100 mph – so stop with the ignorance, any car can go fast! Any car can be a killer and any driver can do something negligent.  Accidents and deaths due to negligent driving have been occuring since the invention of the car.  I have family members who I have never met who died in the 60's, 70's and 80's for the same reasons.  I have lost friends and classmates over the same thing.  It is very unfortuante that this is the case, but it is a a part of life, the same way we have crime and war.  Yes we want to curtail it, but we cannot overly punish one human being for a mistake.  I am positive he suffers enough already, and 2 years jail time is more than enough considering he will be locked up with those who have killed inoocent lives in cold blood and not through an accident! We let REAL murders walk free everyday….why are we trying to destroy this young man's life?  I went to school with Mathew Bodden and I GUARANTEE he wouldn't want his friend treated this way, even in death.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Every day when I drive my kids to school I am encountering several people who drive like complete idiots, and EVERY day I wonder what my reaction would be if something would happen to someone in my family or one of my friends because of one of those idiots. Symphathy, understanding and forgiveness are not the words that spring to my mind. I find that as a society, this "forgiving, understanding and analyzing" hasn't gotten us very far, but maybe that's just me.

  5. XXX says:

    I am very sorry for the life lost and yes, Mr. Morgan was negligent by his actions of speeding.  Here is my question, how come so many people were saying Ms. Nowak had been punished enough when she caused a death through DWI and was sentenced to 18 months.  I am sure Mr. Morgan did not get in his car with the intention of racing and causing a death BUT Ms. Nowak DID get in her car while intoxicated thereby causing a death.  If 18 months is punishment enough for her then I am sure  2 years is punishment enough for him.  If the family of the young man who lost his life can forgive, why can't others.  He will live with this the rest of his life.

    • Anonymous says:

      Lock them up till they are 30. Maybe they'll drive slower when they get out.

      • XXX says:

        I am sorry to say this but your comment is very foolish and bigoted.  Do you really think it is only those under 30 who have a monoploy on speeding, racing and careless driving ?  I would say there is probably just about an equal amount of careless drivers and careful drivers over 30 as there is under 30.

  6. Anonymous says:

    In all honesty, you have to understand, in terms of this case, this is a young man who recognised what he did wrong and took responsibility for it. That alone is something jugdes would look favourably on. Second of all, the family of Mr. Bodden has forgiven Mr. Morgan and, as has been said, their response also affected the decisions among other mitigating circumstances.

    While I don't condone what Mr. Morgan did, having went to school with him and knowing him personally, he is a genuine nice guy who truly understands and regrets his actions. While I can also understand how some might feel two years in prison and five years not driving isn't bringing home the consequences of his actions well enough, you should also understand that he has to live with the fact that he killed one of his best friends.

    There have been other cases with much worse consquences as a result of much worse actions where people get less or the same time, some even walk, and still don't learn their lessons. It's a sad situation all around and most likely, had I not known the victims and the accused, I would have had a different take on this case, but, I'll end this saying I wish Mr. Morgan the best and my prayers are still with the Bodden family.

  7. Anonymous says:

    On a recent trip to Florida I counted a Poilce or F.H.P cruiser every second block in Orlando,parked on the median just observing traffic. On I-10 a high-way patrol car every several miles. Traffic is orderly & speed conscious. Unlike here in Cayman with these local thugs on the roads in their Honda's. 2 years for manslaughter no good…think of the other road users .

  8. Anonymous says:

    Lets face it, what deterent is there to stop these guys from speeding and modifying their vehicles.

    100mph! Was this car modified?

    Every day I see vehicles modified to point that the police should not allow them on the road, simply because the insurance is VOID.

    IMPOUND THEM!!!!!!!!!!!

    The police need to do their job and stamp hard on these drivers. I constantly see lowered suspension, laid back seats, no seat belts, tinted windows, colored lights, rear view mirroradjusted for vanity. I could go on and on. Oh and by the way, all this I see in one morning going to work.

    Where are all the police cars in the mornings? I will guarantee you that the only police cars I see in the mornings on my trip from East to GT is at Bodden Town police station.

    And whilst I am on the subject, do checks on the "inspection stations" I hear that you can get ANYTHING passed at some of them for 50 bucks!


    • Anonymous says:

      Where are the police cars in the mornings, the afternoons, the evenings?  Every day I drive to and from Bodden Town and every day I thank my lucky stars when I miraculously arrive at my destination in one piece.  It's not JUST the modified vehicles that are the culprits, either.  This morning at 6:45 a.m. I witnessed a Ford Explorer and a BMW jockeying for position on the "highway" by Mariner's Cove at a speed that could be no less than 70 mph.  It just takes a speed trap every few days to slow these people down and hopefully prevent the inevitable.  Oh, and by the way, last time I checked, the morning speed limit in front of Savannah Primary School is 15 mph not 45 mph!   Unfortunately, our children learn by example.

    • Anonymous says:


      It is all those Hondas. i live in the Retreats off Bobby Thompson Way, I drive one of those horrible highly modified cars (not a Honda), twice today whilst driving at under 10MPH on the roads in the neighbourhood I was almost taken out by safe driving, patient ladies driving safe expensive European family cars as they ignored common safety and good manners, both had young children in the vehicles.

      Maybe this is a case of the pot calling the kettle……..

  9. Anonymous says:

    Was this the first time he drove in such a reckless fashion or does he have a history of reckless driving?

    A slap on the wrist and a dead young man. The number killed could have been much higher and the question is what mitigation really matters when there is reckless loss of life?

    For those other young drivers without connections and mitigation would they have recieved a stiffer sentence?

    Does this sentence act as a deterrent to those other young people who are driving recklessly on the Cayman roads?

  10. Anonymous says:

    What a horrible story.

  11. Anonymous says:

    When someone use their car in the fashion done in this case, the car becomes a lethal weapon, which in this case resulted in the tragic death of Mr Bodden. 2 years is certainly not enough despite all mitigating circumstances described in the article and will certainly not deter others to do the same.

  12. Anonymous says:

    What about 5 years in prison and no parole and 10 year no driving a car ?


    • Anonymous says:

      Just a quick question If it was your child driving would you still want the ten years?

      • Anonymous says:

        why is that relevant?

      • Anonymous says:

        No, but that is what every parent would say.

        It is therefor not to the parents to determine the penalty, but society in general.

        Parents are btw partially responsible for this.


  13. Judge Dredd says:

    Not enough!  5 years minimum and a life ban.  He will be out in a year.  What is the deterrent for other killers like him?  Just because no innocent third parties were hurt or killed does not mean he should not serve much longer in jail. 

  14. Country Girl says:

    My condolences to the family of the lost one & also Jarrett"s family.

    Jarrett just hang in, you are a nice person.

    Keep the faith!


    • Judge Dredd says:

      By “nice person” do you really mean “convicted killer”?

  15. Anonymous says:

    My heart goes out to Mr. Bodden's family. A truly preventable tragedy. The miracle here is that this sort of terrible consequence does not happen more frequently. Driving on this island is like the wild west – lawlessness and nobody out on the roads to enforce safe driving. I can't count how many times this sort of thing has happened to me – being overtaken on blind corners, nearly run off the road, cars racing in both lanes of oncoming traffic. I'm afraid to drive to the grocery store at night for fear of my life. Where are the police? They set up road blocks, give tickets to people for rolling stops when it's the end of the month and they have numbers to put up. Like the robberies the carjackings the senseless violence – this lawlessness has to end before it's too late for Cayman.

  16. Rashane says:

    I am truly sadden by this news. I was friends with all three young men.  I know this must be very hard for both families. I wish them all the best and my prayers goes out to them. May God continue to bless and keep them.

  17. Anonymous says:

    The tariff is too low for this and other recent crimes.  The mitigating factors seems pretty weak as well.

  18. Anonymous says:

    Sad as this is, the RCIPS continues to neglect their roadside and traffic enforcement responsibilities which would normally deter dangerous adolescent and criminal behaviors.

    • Anonymous says:

      How can we take the RCIP seriously, when so many of their officers speed and drive while talking on their cell phones?

      Lead by example!

    • Anonymous says:

      Is there even a traffic dept anymore? Where are they? Mario Andretti’s going 80 mph all night long along bypass. No resistance at all.

  19. Anonymous says:

    Very Sad for all concerned!!!!

  20. Anonymous says:

    If he hit my Wife's car and killed her and all of my children nothing short of the death penalty should be imposed on him. I don't feel sorry for him 1 bit. There are other people on these roads you selfish nitwits. Your are bunch of ignorant liitle boys driving HONDAS that were never built for speed. These are not Ferrari's or Porche's you are driving. They are not made to be driven this way. Even if they were the roads in Cayman are too dangerous for high speed travel.

    • Anonymous says:

      well said!!! I was about to say the same!!!

    • Anonymous says:

      Please stop!!!!! Because if it was you accidently killed someone wife and kids you wouldn’t want death penalty. Your story would be way different.

      But what you people need to look at. Mr. Morgan took the responsibility of what he did wrong and yes they minimum for this situation is 3 years to 5 years, but he plead “guilty” he took the his responsibility which most people won’t. He’s a very nice young man with great manners never been in trouble are round bad company and that what the judge are looking at.

      You all need to know what going on first before you jump into conclusion and don’t know what going on.

      When I sit back and look when that young lady who has skin and money killed that lady on the by-pass which she was drunk. Not much people had much to say about her did they????? And she did not received 2 years prison time, from what I remember she gotten less.

      Everything is up to the judge what they want to do and who they know.

      My condolences go out to Matthew Bodden family and wish Mr. Morgan the best and pray to everyone that going through this difficulty situation that happened.

  21. Anonymous says:

    Two years for Manslaughter?? Gotta love our justice system!!

    • think about it says:

      Could you not say that if the family of your victim genuinely forgives you, does that not say something about the situation?

      When you stand up and face your charges, and do not try to pretend it was someonelse's fault does that not say something?

      Suppose the young man in this case was drunk (which he was not) white, a female, and a  famous person's daughter. 

      What kind of sentence you think he would have gotten?

      This young man has to forever live with the pain of killing his friend.  Our community knows of many cases where people take the lives of others they never knew and it truly means little to them.  They try to simply 'beat the charges'.  

      Thank God you aren't a judge. You are clearly not stable enough to deal with such a serious situation.


      • Anonymous says:

        This young man has to forever live with the pain of killing his friend? maybe then he'll remember not to speed. This was no one else's fault but his own, and he's not a child – He's 22 years old and he knows what the speed limit is. Driving at over 100 mph is completely ridiculous! It's a miracle no one else was killed. And the fact that he was not drunk doesn't exactly help, because it only shows that he knew full well what he was doing when he decided in his sober state to drive so dangerously and so fast. People need to look at the wider picture and realise that he killed someone because he broke the law. No matter who you are, that is unacceptable.  Yes, he is sorry, but maybe he should have thought of the consequences before hand. It's a very sad situation, but at the end of the day, the judge was very lenient.

    • SITG says:

      It is easy for us to point our fingers at others when it is not our own who are bearing the consequences. Instead of putting our fellow Caymanians down we should plea for them to take this young man's unfortunate experience as an example. We are all human beings and we all travel down life's road at times thinking we are invincible. Sometimes it takes tragic incidents such as this one to remind us that we are not and anything can happen to us as it did with this young man. We need to come together and try to work as a community, bashing out will not help the situation but will help turn us away from each other.